Modi Govt Violates CIC Order, Hides Names Of Private Individuals Who Accompanied PM Modi On Foreign Trips
In four years, PM Modi’s foreign trips have cost the exchequer Rs 1,484 crore
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has refused to comply with the Central Information Commission’s (CIC’s) order to disclose the names of the government and private individuals who had accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on foreign tours from 2014-15 onwards, reported The Wire.
On October 6, 2017, a resident of Assam, Karabi Das, had sought information from the MEA regarding the expenditure of PM Modi’s foreign trips from 2015-2017. Das also asked for details of non-government individuals who accompanied him on these trips.
However, when satisfactory information was not provided, the Das approached the CIC, following which, the chief information commissioner, RK Mathur, directed the MEA to make available the list of non-government individuals (not concerned with security) who travelled with the prime minister on the government’s expense.
According to the information received in an RTI filed by The Wire, the Ministry of External Affairs cited ‘confidentiality’ for not disclosing the said information. The ministry has only provided information of media persons who accompanied PM Modi — an information already available in public domain.
In its reply to the RTI, the ministry wrote, “The information sought is extremely sensitive. If this information is disclosed, it will have an impact on India’s sovereignty and integrity as also on the country’s security, and strategic, scientific and economic interests. Because of this, a person’s life and physical security can be put in danger. Therefore, this information cannot be disclosed under Section 8 (1)(a) and (c) of the RTI Act, 2005.”
The ministry added, “On a foreign tour, PMO officials, security agencies, foreign ministry officials and media persons usually accompany the prime minister. These officers are selected on the basis of requirements of the foreign tour. The work of these officers for the prime minister is confidential, which is why this information is sensitive.”
Between June 15, 2014 and June 10, 2018, PM Modi’s foreign trips have cost the exchequer Rs 1,484 crore. Out of this, Rs 387.26 crore was spent on chartered flights alone, and Rs 1,088.42 crore was spent on the maintenance of the PM’s aircraft.
Earlier this year, Union Cabinet Minister and BJP MP Narendra Singh Tomar had refused to disclose how he spent Rs 11 crore from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund, despite being ordered by the CIC to disclose the information.